Have Compass just turned their back on Labour?


By Mark Ferguson / @markfergusonuk

Update: Compass have confirmed that their rule change took place on a “turnout of around 13%”

Compass have voted to “end the rulings that restrict membership to those already in Labour or entitled to be so”. The result was expected at 2pm this afternoon, but in the end the result was delayed by two and a half hours as votes were counted.

The final result was:

“YES = 354, NO =163, ABSTAIN =3. In percentage terms this equals YES = 68%, NO =31%, ABSTAIN =1%. A margin of 2:1 in votes was required to pass the amendment.”

Whilst the precentages suggest a significant victory for those who wanted to “open out” the organisation, in reality those who wanted to maintain the current rules were only fifteen votes away from depriving the “yes” supporters of the 2:1 majority required.

In response to the result, Compass Chair Neal Lawson – a strong advocate of the change – said:

“From today anyone who shares our vision of the good society can join Compass. Labour, Greens, Liberal Democrats and people of no party.”

“The vote signals a big step toward a new politics. What matters is what people believe and what they will do about their beliefs – not what party card they hold or if they have one at all. Tens of thousands of people want a world that is more equal, sustainable and democratic. Now Compass can play an even bigger role in the creation of that world.”

“Of course Labour remains the biggest and most important party in this progressive movement for change. Compass will maintain a special relationship with Labour and Ed Miliband who we gave overwhelming backing to. But Compass will exert more influence on Labour and be more capable of building and sustaining a wider alliance if we get everyone involved in the process of making the economy the servant of society.”

It remains to be seen how significant this decision could be for the organisation, who now risk losing influence within the Labour Party, whilst potentially strengthening their support within a broader left movement.

The narrow gap that decided today’s result could prove to be decisive for the future of Compass, and perhaps for the Labour Party too.

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